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Rated: E · Short Story · History · #1112221
A story of two enemies who found a way to know each other.

Grandpa's Bell

By Theresa Burres

"Grandpa", the little girl said when she climbed into the chair next to him. "Tell me about your Japanese bell and Mr.Sho!"

"Well, where do you want me to start?" his soft blue eyes started on a far away journey. The little girl knew that her Grandpa was remembering times before she was even born. "Hummm. I'll tell you everything just like he told me.

"Sho was just a man from Japan. He grew up in a small fishing village with his mother, his father, his sister, and his younger brother, Chikava. He had a puppy that was black with white spots." Grandpa continued.

"Just like your puppy when you were a boy, right?" the girl waited for an answer.

"When Sho told me about his puppy I thought that Major's daddy must have visited Japan just to have left a puppy for Sho. They could have been brothers they were so much alike."

"And he liked to fish and walk in the woods with his puppy just like you and Major used to do." She said putting in the parts that she knew by heart.

"Yes - Yes," Grandpa continued with a smile. "We would also play games with our brothers and sisters. We both went to school to learn to read and write. We were just ordinary boys, Sho and Me"

Grandpa moved to the side so that he could see his granddaughter's face. "Are you save you want to hear this?" He asked.

"Oh, Yes Grandpa! Please!"

"All right, all right," Grandpa chuckled as he tickled her under her chin.

"Then the war started. The Second World War was a terrible war. Sho's country, Japan, and My country, America, were fighting each other. Even though Sho was a young boy and a fisherman, the leaders of his country said that he had to fight in the war. I couldn't be a soldier because of my foot."

"The one that you cut so bad when you worked with your father in the woods?" She asked, already knowing the answer.

"Yes," he said, caught up in his story, "I was given a job at the Government Depot. I helped to get everything ready for the men who were fighting on the war."

"Sho was captured and was sent to where I was working. Sho and I worked together for several years." Grandpa stated in a voice soft with remembering.

"Your Grandma would put in extra treats for Sho when she packed my lunch. Sometime she would put an extra apple, or an extra hard boiled egg. When she could get the things to bake she would slip in several more cookies, or a piece of pie."

Grandpa paused with a smile. "Times were hard all over. We didn't have much, but whatever we had we still had more than Sho. So we shared what we had."

"Sho couldn't speak English and I could not Japanese. We started out using our hands and faces so we could understand each other. Over the months I taught Sho some English and he taught me some Japanese. Sho would tell me about his life in Japan and his family. I would tell him about my life, my family." Grandpa paused considering the next part of the story. The little girl waited for her Grandpa to start the story again. Grandpa started talking with a slight smile on his face,"I guess you could say we became friends."

"When the war ended Sho was sent back home to Japan. Before he left he gave me that bell." Grandpa stopped and looked at the shining brass bell that stood on the bookcase.

"That bell belonged to Sho's mother. When he had to go to war she gave it to him. It was a good luck charm. I guess it worked because Sho went back home safe."

"And you became friends," the little girl said.

"And we became friends." said Grandpa. "Even when we started out enemies. I guess that bell just proves that anyone can be friends if they just get to know each other."

Sho's mother's good luck bell became a friendship bell between two enemies. That shiny bell always had a place of honor on Grandpa's bookcase.

{Author's note - featured in the Action and Adventure newsletter 6/23/07}

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